Comfort zones are something that up until a few years ago, I was completely stuck within, and it’s something that I know people in my life struggle with. It’s definitely not an easy thing to overcome - stress and anxiety can go through the roof just thinking about doing something you’d never normally do.
I always cared too much about what people thought, and it always stopped me from doing the things that I really wanted to do, no matter how big or small - I couldn’t even deliver presentations in college without feeling super anxious. The only time I ever stepped up in front of a large number of people was when I was in a band;we had to perform in front of the entire year for our leavers’ service. I’ve only felt that nervous in my life a couple of times since then, but standing next to some of my best friends made me feel 10x better because they were feeling the exact same way as I was. Though it might not sound like much, it was a huge thing for me to be able to do that, and for a few months after, I performed in a number of bars and pubs with my former bandmates with complete confidence and I didn’t waste time thinking about it - I just did it.
I then decided to get my first job, and for 2 and a half years I worked in hospitality with some amazing people. I entered a completely new industry and was in an environment that I knew very little about - I can’t explain to people how much confidence these two jobs have given me, and I know for sure that they’ve had a great effect on other people too.
Fast forward about 6 months in and the shy version of Conor that first walked in for his interview is definitely gone - talking to people wasn’t a problem for me anymore, I’d be dancing and singing behind the bar (much to customers’ enjoyment), managing weekend night shifts and co-ordinating cocktail masterclasses for large groups of customers. I put myself into an environment that I knew I would be uncomfortable in because there would be new challenges I’d have to deal with. Putting myself in this new environment forced me to adapt and grow as a person.
I’ve experienced something very similar since I started my apprenticeship with The Juice Academy. Of course, I’ve had some previous experience with Social Media, (that’s pretty much a given for a 20yr old) but there’s quite a substantial difference between scrolling through your phone on social media channels, posting from time to time, and producing your own solid content on behalf of a company.
The responsibility of having to produce consistent and valuable content for a company can be quite daunting, especially when you’ve never had to do it before. I can definitely say that I was nervous finding out what my job would inevitably entail, but don’t get me wrong, I was still very excited! I’d be gaining a whole host of new skills, and I’m still constantly learning to this day - I’ve had training on how to write blog articles, film, edit and publish videos, film events with over 500 people there, and managing a Facebook group with a daily content schedule, and that’s just to name a few.
The biggest challenge I faced, however, was filming events. I’d have to be up close and personal in the audience to capture b-roll footage for later.
But I didn’t feel comfortable doing that.
So, I took it upon myself to push myself out of my comfort zone to get familiar with filming in public places with large numbers of people around. The day after I felt so much better about filming in front of big crowds! The footage might not have been anything special and people might have been asking themselves ‘what is he doing?’, but I had to do it in order to get past this barrier, and it helped so much, so I don’t regret it at all.
Fast forward to last week where I had a fantastic opportunity to go to Norway with the rest of the GoProposal team. We set ourselves the challenge of filming just about every single interaction we had with our clients over there as we wanted to turn it into a documentary. If I hadn’t set myself the challenge of filming in public places in front of lots of people, I know I wouldn’t have had the confidence to fly out to an entirely new country and film for 3 days straight.
“We all suffer one of two pains - The pain of Discipline or the pain of Regret”.
This really resonated with me and I hope that it can resonate with others too because who wants regrets in life? I certainly don’t, and I wouldn’t want others to have them either.
If you’re not comfortable being on camera, just start practicing, nobody has to see your footage; it’s for you and no-one else. Once you’re confident enough to start putting stuff out there, go for it and don’t look back. It’s not going to be perfect, you have to start somewhere, and if you continue to produce more and more content, you’ll get more confident in yourself and your content quality will improve drastically.
Once you start living outside your comfort zone, the world really does open up to you in every way imaginable. Don’t let fear dictate what you can and can’t do!